A North Carolina woman has been sentenced to 245 days in prison for the death of her 3-year-old son. The woman, who has already served her sentence, was intoxicated and asleep when her child was trapped outside of the house in freezing temperatures.
On Dec. 11, Jamie Basinger pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Judge Nathaniel Poovey sentenced her to 245 days in prison and 36 supervised months probation. She is set to be released for time served, the Morganton News Herald reports.
On March 15, Landyn Melton apparently wandered outside of his home a day after his third birthday. The child became trapped outside and succumbed to hypothermia in 21-degree temperatures and wind chill. Jamie and her boyfriend were asleep inside the home until law enforcement responded to the scene and woke them up.
"I've been in law enforcement for 40 years and those type of cases never get easier," Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said at the time, according to WCNC. "As a parent, as a grandparent, your heart aches for that child, you heart aches for that family."
On April 14, Jamie was arrested after she told authorities that she had used methamphetamine and marijuana within the two days leading up to Landyn's death.
"It was just a terrible tragedy ... I love my kids to death and I would never do nothing to hurt him," Jamie said after being charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse, according to WSOC-TV.
Brenda Basinger, Jamie's grandmother, defended her and asserted that she would never intentionally endanger Landyn.
"Jamie is a wonderful mom," Brenda said. "She loved her babies. She still loves her babies, and she would never do anything to hurt her babies."
Jamie's trial began on Dec. 10. Her attorney, Frank Webster, stated that she fully cooperated with authorities and was overcome with grief.
"When this happened, when she saw Landyn laying on the porch, she broke into tears -- falling on the ground," Webster said in court. "She's really never stopped crying since, your honor."
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert argued that Landyn would have survived if Jamie was not negligent.
"By her own admission, she was sleeping harder than normal," Lippert said. "She didn't hear him -- didn't hear him leave the room, didn't hear him leave the house, didn't hear him banging on the door. She was asleep while he was freezing to death."
Webster noted that he did not believe his client would be held responsible for Landyn's death if she had not disclosed her drug use.
"Had this gone to trial, some of the things that are said, I believe, would not have been admissible," Webster said. "But nonetheless, here we are."
The day after the trial started, Jamie accepted a plea deal and prosecutors dropped the child abuse charge. She will have to return to prison if she violates her probation.